Sippican Tennis Club // 1908

The Sippican Tennis Club in Marion, Massachusetts, was established in 1908 for the purpose of athletic exercise and a place for social gatherings in town. Historically, the town’s population surged in the summer months when wealthy city residents would flock here and stay in their waterfront mansions for a few months a year. The large hipped roof rectangular building was constructed just before the club opened in 1908, and it is flanked by eight tennis courts. Charles Allerton Coolidge, a principal in the well known firm, Shepley Rutan and Coolidge, was one of the original shareholders as well as the architect for the building. He also was a summer resident himself (his home was previously featured). The building is constructed of concrete and features paired, tapered columns which run the perimeter of the structure, supporting a deep porch. The broad elliptical arch and exposed rafters add to the Craftsman style flair of the building.

Handy’s Tavern // 1812

Before the days of cars and even trains ruled, people in New England would get around by horseback or stagecoach (horse-drawn carriages) from town to town. Due to the long travel times to get everywhere, many New Englanders built taverns, which served as inns and bars for the weary traveller on their journey. In 1812, a recently married Caleb Handy built this house to serve as a residence and source of income, as a tavern for travellers on the Plymouth-New Bedford stagecoach route. He married Sophia Dexter in 1811, who died just two years later at the age of 22. Two years after the death of his first wife, he married Sophia’s sister, Mary, who just turned 18 (he was 33). The tavern had a ballroom for local dances and a room for serving drinks, based principally on West Indian rum, that was shipped in from sugar plantations, owned by many wealthy white families in New England (many of whom exploited the slavery abroad). The Tavern was later owned by Benjamin Handy, who continued to operate it as a Tavern until the railroad made the stagecoach route obsolete in the middle of the 19th century. It then became a family home. The house was sold to the Sippican Women’s Club in 1923, who renovated and restored much of the building, and held luncheons and events inside. They maintain the building to this day.

Rye Beach Club // 1925

The Rye Beach Club is located right on Rye Beach, one of New Hampshire’s most upscale seaside communities, one whose history as a fashionable summer resort dates back to the 1840s. The Beach Club was established in 1925 in the decade after the First World War as the nation was experiencing a social transformation fueled by the postwar boom of the “Roaring Twenties”. As automobile ownership rates increased by the 1920s, the average motorist was no longer dependent upon schedules and the fixed routes of streetcars, railroads and steamboats. As one early historian of American recreation noted tongue-in-cheek, “The wealthy could make the fashionable tour in 1825, the well-to-do built up summer resorts of the 1890s, but every Tom, Dick and Harry toured the country in the 1930s.” As a result, many wealthy communities created private, exclusive recreation and social clubs where they would not be forced to mingle with the “average” American. Rye Beach residents formed the Rye Beach Club in 1925, which comprises of a rubblestone building with various wood-frame additions.

Hull Yacht Club // 1891-1930s

c.1891 image of second Hull Yacht Clubhouse, Stebbins Collection, HNE

In the Spring of 1880, thirteen Hull, Massachusetts, summer residents, who owned and raced small sailboats, met and decided to form a yacht club. The Hull Yacht Club was founded that same year. During the first two seasons there was no club house, sailing events were run from a private pier and dock and meetings were held at members homes. Even though they started with no club house, being close to Boston with plenty of deep, protected water, drew many new members. The first clubhouse here was constructed in 1882 and the club saw membership soar to over 500. The clubhouse was quickly deemed inadequate for the Boston-area elite and their massive sloops. The second Hull Yacht Club was completed in May 1891. The New York Times and Outing Magazine described the new club as one of the grandest yacht clubs in America, and at the time, it had the second highest membership in the country! The main club house was designed by architect S. Edwin Tobey, and stood four stories, with a 12 foot wide piazza on three sides covered by endless expanses of shingles. The third floor had billiard rooms and public and private dinning, committee room, reading room, wine room, The second floor housed three bowling alleys, and the first floor had lockers, showers, laundry, spar storage. The club merged a couple times over the subsequent decades, but suffered heavily due to the Great Depression, when the Gilded Age monies stopped flowing as freely. The club sold the massive shingled building to developers who sought to convert the building into a resort, but it was deemed a fire hazard and razed in the 1930s. The club erected a new, modest clubhouse near Point Allerton later.